Analyze new and returning visitor behavior

Contributors

@andreea-macoveiciuc-content-expert @sarah-bond-lucky-orange


Business Benefits

Use behavior insights to inform and enhance your marketing strategy.


Compare the trend of returning new and users over time by analyzing their behavior in the last 30, 90, and 365 days.

  • In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning.
  • Adjust the date filter to the last 30 days.
  • Tick the box next to Compare To and select Previous period from the drop-down.
  • Make similar comparisons for other date ranges such as last 90 days and last 365 days, to get a better understanding of short, mid, and long-term trends.
  • In the Users column, check the % change row for both New and Returning users.
  • If the % change is much higher for the new users, then you might look into improving user retention and loyalty.
  • If the % change is much higher for the returning users, you might look into new user acquisition.

Compare and interpret top level metrics for new and returning users, such as goals, content consumption, or bounce rates.

In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning. Under Goal completions, check how many conversions are generated by each user type to understand how they contribute to your business goals. Compare the bounce rate for new and returning users:

  • A much higher bounce rate for the new users indicates that your content might not resonate with the new audience.
  • A much higher bounce rate for the returning users might indicate that your website content is not updated often enough.

Under Users, compare the number of new and returning users.

  • A good ratio of returning visitors is between 30% and 50%.
  • A lower rate of returning users indicates that your users don’t come back to your website frequently.
  • A higher rate of returning visitors indicates that you should ramp up new user acquisition as your website relies too heavily on returning users.

Segment your traffic source reports by user type.

  • Go to Acquisition > All traffic > Source/Medium and click on +Add segment.
  • Select New users from the drop-down.
  • Select Returning users from the drop-down, then click Apply.

Analyze and interpret your traffic sources by user type. Look at the organic, paid, and referral traffic as a starting point.

Check which traffic sources are sending more users, new and returning, to your website. If the share of returning traffic is high (+50%) for Google / organic, your website traffic might rely too heavily on brand traffic. Compare the share of new and returning traffic for your paid advertising channels:

  • A very high share of new traffic, +75%, indicates that your marketing is focusing on new user acquisition.
  • A high share of returning traffic, +50%, indicates that your marketing is focusing on user retention.

Analyze your landing pages and content performance for the new vs returning users.

Go to Behavior > Site content > Landing pages. Look at the Sessions column to compare the most popular pages for both user types. Identify the landing pages with high bounce rate and low conversion rates:

  • If your returning visitors generate a high bounce rate on the homepage or the blog pages, you might want to update your content more frequently.
  • If your new users generate high bounce rates on popular pages, you might direct them to better performing pages via your paid marketing channels.

Use your insights to adjust your marketing strategy based on your goals. For example, to increase the number of return users or the content consumption of new users.

If you notice that your returning users drive more conversions, prioritize optimizing your content to keep visitors on the site for longer, and improve your internal linking strategy to make it easier for them to find relevant content.

Increase the engagement and user experience of your returning visitors through remarketing, marketing automation, or social media posts.

Launch a newsletter program to engage with your returning users. Use social media channels to interact and engage with your existing users. Update your content frequently, for example, homepage offers, and company blog, to encourage visitors to return to your website for fresh offers or content. Launch remarketing campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook to re-engage your users.

Drive new user acquisition and improve user experience for new users.

Launch additional Google Ads or Facebook campaigns, research new keywords and audiences to reach new users. Improve your SEO ranking to generate new users via organic Google search. Promote special offers for new users on underperforming pages, for example, 20% off your first order. Create additional content dedicated to new users such as new landing pages with a clearer explanation of product or service benefits.

Review your campaign results, analyze them, determine if the strategy was successful, and decide how to act in the next round.

Start a campaigning loop; when launching the next campaign, use insights from the one that just ended to decide how to go about the new one. Follow conversions according to user type, and see if the new results fit better or worse to your business goal. Follow the bounce rate after the campaign ran its course, and see if it is high or low among new and returning users.

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